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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 15, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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.. >> host: and shy away from it when it doesn't. is that one of the points that
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you were trying to make with this book, or what is it that you want people to be able to take away? >> guest: well, i do think that is partially true, but when women came into the senate, most people don't realize there were few women in the senate up until 1990 there were only two women in the senate. so all of those male senators don't know what to do with women coming into the senate. and you have women coming in at the same time as you have a big shift in washington in terms of behavior in washington becoming more partisan and more polarizeed. so as women come into the senate, you're also in a much more partisan and polarized environment, and that's had a lot of effect. so in terms of utilizing their gender, they do emphasize it if it helps them to achieve their political goals. >> host: right. >> guest: and they de-emphasize it when they're concerned that it could hurt their political goals. so if we take the very obvious example of hillary clinton -- >> host: right, i love that
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example. you talk about her a lot. >> guest: one of the reasons is there has not been a senator from new york on armed services for a long time, was because she knew she was going to be running for president, and she needed to establish credentials. and she spent time talking to military officials, establishing herself with flag officers, talking to other people on the committee, cosponsoring bills. and she actually shied away from doing too many women's issue, women's-oriented things because she knew that everybody knew that was her expertise, and she needed to establish expertise elsewhere. so gender is emphasized when it's helpful, it's de-emphasized when you're concerned that people will see it as showing you as having weakness. >> host: yeah, that's interesting. so you mainly look at the 107th and 108th congress, and i wonder if you could just go through why those, that four-year span at the beginning of the last decade was really the time when you
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could most get the best information -- or was that the time you thought you could get the best information about how women were achieving their policy goals? >> guest: well, part of it was a matter of numbers, so there were very few women at all in the senate, and you finally had enough women that you could say something about the impact that women as a group were having on congress. and then policy wise it was a very interesting time, because president george w. bush came in as a compassionate conservative. people forget that once he becomes the 9/11 president. >> host: right. >> guest: but the compassionate conservative. the first issues that he was emphasizing were what people considered to be traditional social welfare issues that a -- >> host: no child left behind, obviously, was a big deal the summer of 2001. >> guest: absolutely. so no child left behind was important, the med tear prescription drug benefit which was the largest expansion of medicare since it was created and, you know, the biggest
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change in health care policy up until you have obama's health care reform. so two big social welfare issues right there, but also there was a lot of action on social issues because for the first time you have republicans in control of the presidency and both houses of congress. so the partial-birth abortion act was passed at this time, and president bush had two nominees to the supreme court, and they really shift the balance of power in the court, particularly on issues of women's rights. so when you replace sandra day o'connor with samuel alito, that had a big change on women's rights issues. so whereas a partial-birth abortion ban was originally declared unconstitutional and o'connor was the swing vote there, then a couple of years later very similar legislation is declared constitutional by the roberts court. and, of course, you had the lily ledbetter fair pay act going through, the lily ledbetter case going through the courts at that time. >> host: it seems to me abortion
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has sort of been an undercurrent for a lot of the issues that the senate in general has to deal with because of -- and not just in those four years that you take a real deep dive at, but because of the supreme court and because of even court cases that are coming up now, you know, we're expecting, you know, a lot of court cases on sexual assault in the military and what not. i wonder if you think that that has, how that has impacted how women sort of deal with these other issues, you know, in terms of how they deal with supreme court nominees, for example. >> guest: well, the research that i did, i was looking particularly at the replacement of sandra day o'connor and how senators dealt with looking at her replacement. and in general when you're talking about a supreme court nominee, if i'm of the president's party, i need to support the president's nominee. that's pretty much a given. so there were going to be cases where you had your more moderate republican senators like olympia
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snowe and susan collins in an uncomfortable position, because they's suppose themselves as pro-choice senators, and they got a lot of electoral support from democratic voters. but these were judges that would be coming up that would be ruling on those cases, and it was fairly clear that they would not be pro-choice judges. >> host: right. >> guest: even though everyone says there's no litmus test. but they were going to have to navigate and negotiate that in terms of their timing of announcements of support and what kind of questions they wanted to ask. for the democrats, there was a panoply of issues under which they were going to object, issues of executive power, labor legal relations. and i found the rim were much more likely -- women were much more likely to say in their statements they were opposing them not just on abortion, but particularly the democratic women would go to issues beyond abortion. abortion is very much a litmus
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test to say i support women's right, and it's the focal point of debate between the two parties, but there are a lot of other issues of women's rights people can look at and democratic women were more likely to bring up their position on equal pay, family leave. you know, there were some cases that alito had ruled on in those areas and these kinds of issues. >> host: do you think, though, women in the senate have changed the debate over time, or are they still operating -- specifically talking about abortion, are they still operating under constructs that are largely created by male policymakers in terms of having to respond to appointees made by male presidents and republican men as you point out are more likely to sponsor, quote-unquote, anti-feminist bills and abortion bans and what not? do you feel like -- or is there room for them to sort of be more proactive in that realm? >> guest: i think it fends on the circumstance. the -- it depends on the
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circumstance. they need to follow the norms of the institution. very recently, democratic women have actually been leading not on the issue of abortion necessarily, but on contraception. so i think that when you look at what's happened with president obama's health care bill and the contraception mandate, a lot of that was driven by female democratic senators. and what you see a lot of times is the female democratic women getting together, they have press can conferences, they write editorials, they go down to the floor to speak, they put pressure on the administration. so there was a point where the administration could have decided, okay, we'll carve out a lot of exceptions for contraception coverage, particularly say for institutions that are religious institutions like catholic universities, i work for georgeton university -- >> host: right. >> guest: places like that to have exceptions, and the democratic women were really pressing for this to be as broad as possible. and i think they helped the administration along with kathleen sebelius to stand their ground and have a fairly strict
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rule to make the coverage fairly expansive. and they have pressed that beyond, you know, to make sure that the mandate stays in place. and then, of course, they do utilize it in politics, so it was a big selling point for president obama and his re-election campaign in 2012. so in that way i do think that they can sometimes lead if public opinion is where they are and if they can be seen as moving public opinion. >> host: right. >> guest: so in general, when it comes to issues of reproductive rights, the public is generally more supportive of contraception than partial-birth abortion. >> host: right, exactly. i wanted to talk to you primarily about one chapter in your book you devote solely to defense and how women, you know, and their policy priorities on defense, which i thought was interesting. as you point out, no one has really looked at this before, i mean, a lot of people have talked about how do women policymakers deal with point policy that directly impacts
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women or has more of a focus on women like education and abortion and social services and stuff like that. and, you know, one of the points that you make that i think is somewhat conventional wisdom but i still think it's true -- [laughter] is that women are seen as weaker on defense and that they have to overcome, you know, they have to prove themselves a little bit more than their male colleagues might. but still you say that gender doesn't have very much influence on how women really approached legislating on defense policy, that it was a pretty straightforward in terms of what you term hard and soft, you know, defense issues, you know, the war and the weapons systems versus, you know, social services for veterans and other sort of personnel issues. can you talk a little bit about what you found in anything that might have surprised you there? >> guest: sure. so there is an assumption that women are going to be weaker on defense policy and not be as
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interested or as strong on creating a strong military. and i found that there was no evidence of that. instead, senators really come at it from a very parochial point of view. it's a lot about do i have defense contractors in my state, do i have a military base in my state that needs protecting? and that's how most senators actually approach those issues, is they very much come with a constituency focus about the constituents that they need to serve and protect at the same time as they're thinking about national defense. when you look at the vote on the iraq war and who voted to support the iraq war, women were not more pacifistic. people think women are pacifistic, and certainly everyone knows that jeanette rankin who was the first woman in congress happens to be the only person who served her term was for the vote to go into world war i, and she voted against, and the vote to go into world war ii, and she voted again. and barbara lee was the only one
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to vote against, you know, supporting the resolution regarding 9/11. but in general, women -- it was all about ideology. so if i was a very liberal democrat, then i didn't support going to war with iraq, but there was really no gender effect. so on those issues there's no real gender effect. there is some effect of military service, though, and if i am one someone who had military service, i do get more deference. i'm brought to the floor to talk about what the position should be of the united states and particularly the position of my party which is why we see john mccain on television a lot and jack reed who's former west point on the democratic side to defend those policies. and women are much less likely to have served in the military. that's starting to change and, of course, we now have a few female veterans in congress, but this is very new to have tammy duckworth -- >> host: right. >> guest: and prior to that heather wilson. >> host: heather wilson, i think she was the only one, and
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certainly there aren't any in the senate. >> guest: no, there have not been any women in the senate who have served in the military. so on that hard defense issue side, i did not find that much gender difference, but on the soft issues, you do find gender difference. the women are more likely to care about the benefits, what's happening to the families, and they were more likely to support that. and you see that a lot right now with what's going on with sexual harassment in the military. >> host: right. >> guest: but at the time i'm writing the book, the big issue at that time was whether or not you should have women in combat. and there was something going through the house to try and, basically, enforce the policy that was on the books, that you can't have women on the front lines, and the bush administration wasn't supporting it because it was difficult enough to recruit people that they didn't want to have to take people, the women who were fighting already and hold them back. so the administration didn't support it, but the people who lobbied on the issue said they
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go to people like hillary clinton, elizabeth dole, susan collins, olympia snowe first because they're sympathetic to the position of women in combat. and they said these issues are what they called no dollar issues. >> host: right, i was going to ask you about that. >> guest: no money attached to this. there's no big defense contract like, you know, looking at the f-35 -- >> host: there's not a big special interest campaign built on putting women in combat. certainly, there are women's service members' organizations, but they're not going to bring in the kinds of campaign contributions that boeing can, for example. [laughter] >> guest: exactly. that means if i'm going to spend precious time on this, i have to care. >> next, booktv sat down with senator rand paul of kentucky at freedom fest in las vegas to talk about his first year in the senate and the influence of the tea party on policy making. his book is "the tea party goes to washington." here's a portion of that interview. >> host: how would you assess
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the tea party today and its influence in washington? >> guest: well, you know, when we started, i think we were equal parts chastisement to both parties. we were unhappy with republicans who voted for the bank bailouts, we were also unhappy with obamacare, and those were the two big issues. and now that we've had the supreme court ruling on obamacare, we're still unhappy about obamacare, and i think, if anything, the tea party may be somewhat rejuvenated by its opposition. i think a lot of people thought the supreme court was going to strike it down, and when they didn't, i think maybe you'll see a resurgence of the tea party trying to have an influence in who wins the election. >> host: well, when the tea party first started in 2006-2007, were you even thinking about running for office at that point? >> guest: no. and, in fact, i went to maybe the very first tea party in 2007, december 16, 2007, in boston. they called it a reenactment of the boston ea party. and it was also at the time my dad's campaign was just starting to hit national waves, and then it kind of grew. i went to some other tea
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parties, and the first i went to in kentucky was in 2009. and senator bunning was talking about not running or other people were talking about him not running, and so i showed up at a tea party. i was at my son's little league baseball game, and i said i'll take 20 minutes off, i'll go down to the square, and there'll be 20 people like me. i showed up, and there were nearly a thousand people there, and that's where i knew something big was going on. >> host: and at that point did you start thinking about electoral office? >> guest: no. i was sort of toying with the fact that they were talking about senator bunning not running, so we started talking to reporters saying, well, if he doesn't run, i might. but showing up and seeing that big rally, to me, said that there were enough people out there like myself. i tell people i'd sit at home, watch the tv news, get unhappy, throw things at my tv and curse and go about my daily business. but everybody else was doing this, you know? and everybody was becoming unhappy. and the debt was exploding, and the republicans weren't doing the right thing either.
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so, yeah, that's when i started thinking about it. >> host: a lot of this book, "the tea party goes to washington," is about the 2010 campaign and some of the misrepresentations of who you are. what were some of those examples that you like to point out in here. >> guest: well, you know, the tea party, for one, a lot of people characterize us as not really being a movement. it's some rich guys in new york who are funding the tea party, and and that's all the tea party was. i never met any rich guys from new york when i was part of the tea party. really, it was so decentralized, it was city by city. in kentucky there's ten different tea parties, there's sometimes two tea parties in one town, and they don't communicate with each other. this really was a bottom-up movement and a movement that really chastised both parties. we were unhappy, a lot of us were very unhappy with republicans. you know, when president bush said, oh, to save the free market, i had to give up on capitalism, that disturbed a lot of us, you know?
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so we were unhappy with republicans and democrats and really felt like we needed something different. >> host: now, you write in here that in addition to being called a tea partier or a constitutional conservative, i've also been called a goldwater conservative by sport supporters and critics. it is both accurate and an honor to be described as such. >> guest: when i got started, i reread "the conscience of the conservative," and interestingly, it was actually first publish inside shepherdsville, kentucky, which is right outside ofhouseville. i went and met the publisher and he gave me a copy, and i roadway red it. -- reread it. >> host: and when you think of barry goldwater and you think of conservatives and libertarians, is there a difference between a conservative and a libertarian, and where do you see yourself? >> guest: yeah. and in some ways the word conservative has been watered down enough that people aren't sure what it means. because, you know, george w. bush ran as a conservative, but
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he doubled the debt, and he was very much, to many of us, a profligate spender himself, and we were upset with president obama making it even worse, but we really weren't that happy with the republican years under george bush. so i think many people call themselves libertarian sort of to designate themselves more with the real, true belief in limited government. >> host: you wrote this during, before you spent any time in the u.s. senate. now after a couple of years of being in the u.s. senate, what would you change in here, if anything, and has your mind, your thinking changed at all? >> guest: i would say that going up there i feel that i understand more now how much there is an impasse, how we're having trouble getting hippings done. what i -- things done. what i don't still understand is i've tried to take ideas that many democrats have put forward and said we have to do, but i can't get any democrats to talk to me. i've had appointments with several different democrat
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senators trying to get them to work on social security reform. can be saved for 70 years or 75 years or really in perpetuity if we gradually raise the age and means test benefits, but i can't get democrats to really discuss the possibility of entitlement reform. >> host: what about your own party, the republican party? >> guest: half and half. some don't want to talk about it either. and i'm equally critical of my party in the sense that all 47 senators on the republican side are for a balanced budget amendment, but when we cut $7 million from sugar subsidies, we lose five or ten senators. we compare that to our annual deficit, it's over a trillion. so if you want to cut seven million at a time, that's 140,000 seven million cuts. and we can't do it once. that discourages me, and that's part of the problem in washington is we can't cut pennies, much less the billions that would have to be cut.
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>> host: senator paul, you have a new book coming out. what is it? >> guest: it's called government bullies," -- we're not talking about murder, rape, stealing, we're talking about people who put dirt on their own property. these are wetlands violations. some of these came out of the first george bush, unfortunately. and really we think that you shouldn't be putting people in jail for regulatory crime. in the old days, when you put people in jail, there was a difference between criminal law and tort law. in criminal law you were supposed to have what was called mens rea or intent, you intended to kill someone. if you accidentally hit someone on your bicycle, that wasn't murder. we're now putting people in regulatory crime -- there's a man in jail from southern mississippi for the ten years without parole for putting clean fill dirt on a low area of his land. sometimes it's from moving dirt from one part of your land to another part of your land. we've gone crazy on this stuff. and some of it was well intended
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in the beginning. the clean water act says you can't dump pollutants in the navigable waters of the u.s. i agree with that. no chemical company should be allowed to dump chemicals in the ohio river. but putting dirt on your own land is not the same as dumping chemicals into the ohio river. >> host: are these some of the issues you have dealt with in the senate in the last couple years? >> guest: yeah. i brought the sackett family from idaho, they were being assessed a $70,000 a day fine and told they can't build on their land, and there's no water touching tear land. there's never any rain water on their land. they're told a it's a wetland. the government says look at our web site, and they said, we did, it's not on there, they said, well, the web site's not perfect. one family was raising bunnies, they were fined $90,000 for raising bunnies with the wrong license. today had a license, but it was the wrong license. they said you can pay us within 30 days on your credit card.
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$90,000. be you don't, it'll be $3.1 million. these are the kinds of stories that we've reported in here, and these are the kinds of stories should make americans mad and no more. this is big government that's run amok. >> host: what's your biggest frustration in the u.s. senate right now? >> guest: that people haven't come to grips with the debt problem. the debt's unsustainable. we're borrowing $50,000 a second. we have to cut spending. and there's so much waste. it's not just domestic welfare spending, it's in the military as well. and i tell conservatives that the real compromise is conservatives, like myself, who believe in a strong national defense will have to compromise and say, you know what? we've got waste in the mail tear as well as nestically. the pentagon says they are too big to be awed debted. that's an insult. they spend $700 billion a year. they need to be audited, and we need to figure out how to save money in the military as well as domestically. there's $124 billion in the budget unaccounted for. we've got to do something about
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that. >> former senator olympia snowe of maine, who left the senate in january 2013 after 18 years of service, appeared on "after words" to talk about her book, "fighting for common ground." here senator snowe talks about the partisanship and gridlock she experienced in her final years in office. >> host: you, actually, so interesting to read, i had read about you departing the congress, of course, but then when i read your book to learn that you called it a place of burned bridges and scorched earth, that you could no longer -- you were leaving because you could no longer fulfill your responsibilities as a problem solver, and that you were embarrassed by the 112th congress, its partisan bickering and inactivity and refusal to address the vital challenges facing america. you were compelled to leave because you now hope that you can help correct the system from the outside rather than the in.
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that is, um, was bad news, obviously, to people like me and longtime watchers of the congress who felt that people like you needed to be in it. and as you noted in your book, bob schieffer of cbs said what does it say about the state of our government and politics when serious people like olympia snowe conclude that serving in the united states senate is no longer worth their time and effort. that's the part that should worry the rest of us. so make the case for me and the viewers that you can actually, in leaving so few moderates at all in the congress, try to change the system from the outside? >> guest: uh-huh. and be i'm frequently asked that question, but it occurred to me when i was faced with the cold, stark reality of the question of whether or not it was going to change, actually so many people asked me that question in maine,
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across the country. and so i decided to ponder my own future, you know? it was almost suddenly. it was over a very short period of time, obviously, because i was planning to run for re-election. whether or not it would change, would the polarization, you know, dissipate. and i came to the conclusion, regrettably, that it would not be diminished over the short term. and that given the pronounced changes on the outside with campaign, you know, campaigns, campaign fund raising, outside organizations that weighed in, the polarization of both of the political parties and certainly the changes that were going on in my own party, in the republican party, i just didn't see how the forces from within could be sufficient to outweigh what was happening on the outside. and i decided if i could contribute, you know, the next six years in another way, what would it be. and i decided that i had to re,
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first, reaffirm what people were feeling about congress -- yes, they're right that it is too partisan -- and, two, what can we do about it that has been different? now you're coming to generations of people and lawmakers who think this is the way it is. >> host: right, right. that's so interesting. for those of us who have been watching it for so long, and in my case right before the republican revolution in '94, we've felt these changes in the electronic media, in the professionalization of politics, the mandate for fundraising which is so different than those early days, the punishment of cooperation and compromise and the 24-hour news cycle. it is true that so many lawmakers, and you cite this fact in your book, have just gotten here. so that's the process that they know. and so you write in your book i talk -- i heard you in an interview week. you talked about how in working
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from the outside there needs to be a grassroots efforts to be a counterweight, an equal counterweight to the forces of extremism ask that you said these outside groups are tireless in efforts to devise. there has to be a tireless effort to unite. you said it's imperative we gain reward for bipartisanship so we can break what's become the equivalent of parliamentary gridlock in congress. how do we provide a benefit and reward to people like you in the system? >> guest: well, first of all, it's in the elections most notably and that you demand bipartisanship and hold candidates and elected officials accountable. you know, why aren't you working out a solution? why aren't you in session working out a solution? what do you intend to do if you are elected? about being bipartisan? are you going to work across party lines? are you -- and force them to commit to the whole notion that
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they'll, you know, work across the political lines and come up with solutions rather than having a constant political standoff. and it is really to turn the tables, because, you know, the forces of polarization, we know they've got a stake. you know, they're well funded and well organized, and so the same could be true, you know, if the vast population in this country demanded and insisted upon bipartisanship. and so it is to, you know, be a counterweight. and it also is to change the incentives in the political system and reward those. by voting for those candidates or those elected officials who are and to vote against those who respect. just right. >> guest: and i think that is really important because people feel that there's no control, they have no sense of control. but we really do. we have to organize, obviously. but secondly is that even our own communities and office
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holders all the way up, you know? because it's also facilitiering down into -- filtering down into local levels as well. have a constant standoff? imagine if everybody just, you know, stood down because they weren't getting what they wanted 100 percent of the time? no one would make a move. >> host: right. so how are these candidates and office holders going to be monitored? if the forces that divide are monitoring them all the time, how can the supporters of bipartisanship amass the resources and organization to keep track of a member who's not working across the aisle or who is to reward them in primaries when they do, to punish them when they don't? how does that become -- it's going to take money and passion. do you believe that the disgust is there, the outrage is there, that the passion is there to force that kind of monitoring of a politician the way that those
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other interests do? >> guest: well, first of all, getting somebody's voting record is pretty easy these days, and there are a lot of analysis that are done by various groups, you know, on the hill, on publications like the national journal has conducted a number where you can easily, you know, garner that. but also realtime on the issues that are pending before congress. and that's critical. ..
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and what lawmakers are championing efforts to work across the political aisle. that's the thing that's got to hop in and ordered to turn tide against what is occurring inside congress. >> we continue the discussion on political partisan ship in gridlock with a the portion from them and for the 2013 hapless book festival featuring mickey edwards, author of the parties versus the people. he's a conversation with former republican national committee chairman, michael steele. >> i have this new book out from yale university press and the title of it, to give you a bit of an idea where i'm coming from is transcendent. anna has a sub title.
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"the parties versus the people" does that sound terribly, but people get most in strand by the subtitle of the book, which i did not write. the book started with an article in the atlantic magazine in the subtitle that they put on the article is now the subtitle of the book is called how to turn republicans and democrats into american. when i first heard that i thought that sound harsh. did you read what she wrote? so where i'm coming from in the talk that we just heard talked about structural question. i actually talk about it a systemic issues. when i left congress, i was there 16 years. i was a member of the republican leadership of the house and then i laughed and i went to teach.
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i tied herbert for 11 years. then i taught at princeton. one of the things that happens when he teaches you have a chance to step back from the daily grind. you know, you are on when you're in the classroom, but then you have time to think, reflect, observed and decide which you see happening. what i saw was no matter what the issue was in the sister true whether bush was president or obama was president, whether you are talking about an economic issue for cabinet appointment or anything else. republicans were all one side and democrats are the other side. no matter what the issue has come our government had become more like the nfl, not like american city together saying you are the problem. this debate, talk about them and solve them. how can i defeat you because you belong to a different club, a different label on your head. i started thinking about why that was then how did we get to
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this point. if you've been reading the papers every day, you see here is two or three republicans talking to two or three democrats not doing something together and that's front-page news. they've actually got republicans and democrats willing to talk to each other. so why is that the way it is? i go back and i've thought about the only thing i ever found that our first four presidents agreed with each other on would still create political parties. washington, adams, jefferson, don't create political parties. they have been, but they weren't like these, worth all the time, me against you because you belong to the other club. so i thought about why did we get to that point and i concluded it will talk about you all know the role of money analysts others to and i'm glad to talk about those that i know mike is. but i want to give you a couple
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examples of the political system we've created. so is given a talk to the american academy for the yes men of science and i know nothing about lions, nothing about technology. shouldn't admit that since a similar car site devoted issues about science and technology restricted to understand, but i lucked out -- here's a starting point. what does the constitution envisioned in terms of how we as a people are going to govern ourselves? for one thing, it envisions that because the power of this country is not in the white house, the powers of the congress. almost every major power, spending, tax income approving treaties, and everyone's a congressional power. the power was put where the people themselves should control the outcomes. the idea was that people are going to go to the polls, elect
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their leaders and that's other people -- what happens if it's not the voice of the people? i want to give you two quick examples of the party system we created in would have been. but joe biden became vice president and i said no pain now for the u.s. senate in delaware. everybody knew who was going to be the new u.s. senator, former governor and member of congress. he got challenged in a primary by a lady named christine o'donnell and she beat him. now two things happen. one, christine o'donnell -- their 1 million people in delaware. christina powell only got 30,000 votes. so why didn't he just beat her in the general election? because delaware has this crazy lass called the solar loser bought that if you run for your party's nomination and you lose, your name can't be on the ballot
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in november. those 30,000 people can't call it the million people of delaware from choosing who they wanted in the u.s. senate world the power lies. so go over to utah, where senator mike tassos was running for -- he should've put this guy in the senate, and mike steele, my castle -- never mind. robert then it was running for reelection in the senate and utah. they have a convention. there are 3 million people in utah. 3500 were at the convention. 2000 voted for their other candidates other than robert bennett. because of those 2000 people, his name could not he on the ballot in november for the 3 million people of utah because they have this sore loser law. how many states have this crazy sore loser law?
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46. 46. here's another provision of the constitution. every senator and representative must be an actual inhabitant of the state from which they are elected. the idea is if i were running for congress here, i would know you. i would know the people of annapolis. i know your economic interests. you know me, my reputation in the community. that's the idea. but what happens when you allow political parties to control redistricting about which your congressional district is like? the idea is the congressman -- the congress and are supposed to know the community. i am a city guy. i've been on the farm once or twice. i had no idea what i was looking at. i am a republican who is elect in a district that had not elected a republican since 1928
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to 74% democrat. democrats could not figure out how i want. nobody knew how i won, but a good. so the other party at that time were able to redraw my district in the middle of oklahoma, all of new england fits inside oklahoma. for the middle of oklahoma all the way to kansas, halfway across to arkansas, what happened? i., the city guy come was that representing wheat farmers and cattle ranchers and i didn't understand the interest that i could speak for them. they were entitled to somebody. both of those examples i gave you her because we about the political political parties to control our electoral process and we wonder how, our congress is controlled by the hard-line ideologues, this hyper partisans who promised never to compromise with the other side.
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it's because they know that if they compromise, they are going to get it primaries. they are going to get knocked off in a primary were small numbers of hyper partisan ideologues dominate the outcome. how did we allow these to political clubs to be able to control who we could go for? i was at give them the party. iran is a party guy and started thinking later, what have we done to ourselves? when you see a congress where people will not sit down and talk to somebody on the other side of the aisle, it is because we set up a system that alexis kind of people and gives them the power. just one more quick thing and then mike and i can get into this conversation. then you could elect to congress and you take the oath of office, which by the way is not an oath
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to be loyal to the president and it's not to be loyal to your party leaders. it is to be loyal to the country. i took the oath, with people elected the same time i was, al gore, others. we are not together. we are all members of the congress. we started voting on who would be speaker and dominate. if you had to the house floor, if you see the house floor, if somebody speaks to your baptist panel comic you have a lectern here. not in the u.s. house. there's two lectures. republicans stand up on. democrats tended another to talk to democrats. if you want to go have a cigarette or you want to read a
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sanitary want to make a phone call kumiko to the cloakroom. but there's not a cloakroom. there's one for republicans over there and democrats over there and we operate the united states congress, the branch of government with all the power that would make decisions for our country. we treated as rival clubs instead of people coming together. so the bottom line from what i did in my book is we are not electing people to congress. we are not electing unpatriotic people. we are elect good people who are trapped in a system we have graded that reward instability, deborah voigt's intransigence, that punishes cooperation and compromise and rear shot that's the result we get. best what my book is about. i'm a tear about mike's book. that's where it's coming from. >> that was pretty scary.
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but that's our congress. that's our government and not part of the political process. as mickey was way now, particularly in the first scenario, the bob bennett raised in the christine o'donnell raised, both of those have been on my watch as national chairman and i remembered meeting with a group a very, very excited and somewhat argue excitable republicans about a month after i had become chairman, who were laid me a new strategy that was beginning to emerge from around the country. they called themselves teapartiers. i said okay, so what's the deal? they were very clear about the focus they wanted to bring to the discussion, to the debate about the role of government, the size of government, the expensive government. so we met and at that time, they
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began to talk about being outside the party. part of my responsibility as the national chairman, looking at the political process to elect individuals like make each of the congress is to make sure we have this kind of a process as possible, but we don't cut our nose off to spite our face in the effort to getting to victory. in other words, the race that matters, the battle that matters is the one in november, not one in september, june or february, meaning the primary process. but i recognized early on was this tension that was beginning to build within the political structure at the primary level. the pop off point, the volcanic moment was new york 23.
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the district in new york, spring of 2009, where the party officials of the local party decided to go around the european process, and other was having a primary. but instead, pick their nominee. over the frustrated fleece is the fact that, within that particular congressional district. the republican nominee was really one of the key turning points politically within the gop are that today's, tea party voices raising up against the run. part of my job as the national chairman and something i wanted to capture and i believe they captured in the book was coming
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out of a system in which we have heard he watched in what is devastating losses in 2006 of which i was one of the casualties in my senate right here in maryland, 2008 presidential. the party had lost its red, at least tarnish to the point where it basically stunk. voters had rejected what we had to put on the table, whether it was philosophically, politically, policy wise. our donors were beginning to dry up by holding back -- withholding because they didn't like the direction the party was going in. big government republicanism had begun to take hold in the last term of the bush administration. so a lot of the economic conservatives who would eventually form themselves into tea party really began to figure
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out and find another way to assert pressure back on the party, on the establishment of the party. >> we conclude this blog on congress to robert kaiser at the "washington post." in his book on the act of congress, mr. kaiser discusses the passage of the.frank consumer protection act. during this event, he talks about who spoke with the panel that includes one of the bill's co-authors senator chris dodd. >> there's a photo of circulating the internet of a handmade sign that cheap hotels use to advertise free hbo. this is a more pointed message. it says can register a congress of the fiscal cliff? i found this by chance one day. i bet somebody out at their deserve to price for capturing
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this. as you know, the approval rating on congress now ranges around 10%, 15%. who are the approvers? what is it that they are proving? they are all in this room former staffers gathered around the nation. it's too easy to joke about it, but it really matters as they say the subtitle of this book, congress really is are essential in dictation. when it's broken, the country is not well governed and that serious. this book -- this project began with a phone call for barney frank. i have to confess this to todd back in 09 nervously. i met bernie just the other day in 1961. we were both student politicians at the national student congress. i calculated chris penn was a
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teen about start his prep i believe. anyway, bernie and i stood firmly for my time on. i watched his extraordinary career. interestingly i was 18 and he was 21. we both knew exactly what we wanted to do and we're both lucky enough to do it. i was a bigger deal bernie's case because he heard he knew he was and erd knew that would be an impediment to his political ambitions. luckily he got around that ultimately. when he made that phone call, he was being a good pal. he said your next book out to be about this stuff. the work? the crash, all that's going on is a huge story. he had after patient waiting, just ascended two years earlier to the chairmanship of the national services committee as
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todd had just said in exactly the same moment as chairmanships. dogs wait to see them longer, a story he thus to tell may inflict on you later this afternoon. but he really had that the. he sat in the senate for 28 years before becoming a chairman. that may be a world record. see a page it was called sarbanes-oxley review i remember him. somebody whose heart he wants an hour. [laughter] a good guy, a rhodes scholar. >> a good way to live a very long time. >> so i asked bernie, what's the book? he said that your department. so i thought about it and i thought about the fact that both
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he and todd admitted they wanted to pass and a piece of legislation in response to the great crash. and i realized that the world had really never had a good book, a monitor describing how it got named. so i suggested first to barney and then how about if i get into this is an insider? your stats cooperate with me. you type in command a regular basis. let's see what happens. burning in fact i think is what he had in mind, looking for some thing he thought would be sympathetic to record this historical event. it is perfectly understandable under the circumstances, which is slightly anxious candidate for reelection with a really lousy situation and was nervous.
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he said he would cooperate wonderfully. but i asked if he could approve whatever quotation i would use from him for their end of the book. that seemed under the circumstances that a fair deal to me and we struck it. in the end after u.s. to drop out the reelection campaign, he agreed and everything went smoothly. and the end i had a flu total cooperation as far as i know. there may be something you want to disclose this afternoon that you haven't yet. as far as i know i got the whole story. [inaudible] which we can talk about later. but it went extremely well. for me, the most important question where i've been stationed as a reporter has
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always been, how does that really work? i addressed this in the war in vietnam, where the soviet union and the war in the senate is there for several years in the 70s. but it is a question that i knew had ever really been falling there. so that was my ambition and when i set out to do this. i was alive to see it in a wonderful way through the eyes of a man jean and dave smith of the house president today who kindly shared their time and their brainpower and observations with me. the result was that i was able to write a real adventure story, at least by my standards. the nicest thing, which is the early compliments i received
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from early leaders that people say i really got wrapped up in your story. this is fun to read. or writing a thriller wasn't my ambition. my ambition was to explain the culture of the modern congress. i wrote a piece about this. i argue argued that today's culture on capitol hill is not often but headache to creative problem solving. i want to talk for a few minutes about what i find in the culture of this congress and we can discuss a lot of this later if you would like to. i'm the most obvious letter, the modern congress is redefined by competitive politics. since 94, when newt gingrich first loved the republicans back to power, every day you'll election has been an all-out contest for all of congress.
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we now live in an era of perpetual campaigning and constant political warfare. were fair and professional cube any cost a lot of money of course in the demand for money has had an enormous and act of congress and it's also the culture of the congress. it effects you in search of. today's members have to spend at least a day or two of every week on the cell phone dialing for dollars, calling people, mostly strangers to ask for money. senator dodd can tell us more about this i'm guessing. do you think james madison would've made those calls? t. think howard baker would have? or richard rolling? money has changed to make of a
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congressman. we have a lot more wealthy members and we have a lot of people who don't mind begging for money from strangers. speaking of strangers, a lot of members of congress are strangers with each other, which is a really particularly feature of an institution composed of politicians. if you leave your family at home, spent only three or four days a week in washington in your main preoccupation is partisan warfare and outright friends across the aisle, defends the party come in at the institution. fear is a great motivator and congress. i didn't understand this until i saw it happen in this case. crises produced fear. the great crash produced the great crisis, produced a lot of fear and congress. for most numbers, the greatest
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fear is that he or she will be blamed for the crisis. blame avoidance is probably the first reflects on capitol hill. but a genuine crisis increases the political risks of inaction to the point in the risk of doing something, even if it proves to be imperfect. that reality helped out frank. congress is a reactive institution. it typically reacts in the modern age to proposals proposals and executive branch, rather than take an initiative seven so. this is not what the founding fathers six backdate, but it's not normal procedure. i was a little naïve about this. i really expected dodd and frank to be more initiatives that may turn out to be. dodd tried in may we'll tell us
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this. initially made quite a radical proposal including abolishing of the existing regulators and wrapping them into one new regulatory agency. his colleagues, without exception all dumped these ideas so he had to accept the administration's framework as the template for reform. the preeminence of the executive branch and the less was made easier by the general decline of the expertise and policy experience in congress. i wrote about this. the tribe of politics over policy, as the great lee hamilton describes to me thought this had started to happen in the early 1880s. now the preeminence politics over policy is obvious. the regulatory reform of the 535
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members of congress, i don't think there were two dozen hot a sophisticated understanding of the policy issues governed by the dog for bill and the number is even smaller today because both died and frank are gone. .. [inaudible conversations] >> we are at the los angeles convention center. it is the largest center in the country, about 30,000 people are expected to be


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